Monday, June 12, 2006

I'm Giddy

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That's the only way I know to describe it. When I got up this morning I was giddy. When I arrived at the airport this morning I was giddy. While my instructor was going over the basics of flight with me on the ground, I was giddy. When we were doing the preflight I was giddy. When she had me start the engine and I screwed up and leaned it out too soon and it died I was still giddy. When she had me taxi the plane out onto the runway I was giddy. When she told me to firewall the sucker and steer it down the center of the runway until I hit about 60 MPH airspeed and then start feeding in some up elevator I was giddy. When the plane started lifting off of the ground with me actually flying it, I was scared shitless, but I was still friggin' giddy. Is it unmanly of me to be so giddy?

Sorry folks, I'm just like a little kid when it comes to airplanes, I'm just not particularly fond of riding anywhere but the cockpit, hard to learn anything that way, and I've always had issues when it comes to dieing on someone else's terms. Bouncing around with a bunch of panicking sheep in the passenger compartment of a commercial airliner isn't my idea of a good way to go, I've always been the "go down fighting" kind.

To say the least, my first time ever at the controls of a full scale aircraft was quite possibly the coolest thing I've ever done. My only regret is that I have no idea when I may get a chance to do it again. I learned so much today, and I'd give darn near anything to have another chance to apply it, oh well, unfortunately flying is sort of a rich man's game so hard to say when I'll get another chance. I've come to the undeniable conclusion however, that flying an airplane is a lot like eating Chinese food. You can do it, but a half hour later you'll want to do it again.

My instructor, Bianca at Yellowstone Valley Aviation, said she was very impressed, and that I obviously had a knack for flying and it was obvious to her that I spent a lot of time thinking about it. Maybe she was being too kind, or just doing her job and boosting my confidence, but I have to say that when we were lining up on final and I was still controlling the aircraft and waiting for her to take over, and she didn't, either I really did show her some skills, or she's got far bigger balls than me, pardon my figure of speech. I managed to mostly land the plane, I say mostly because she was running the throttle when we got close to the ground, and she'd trimmed the tail for a proper rate of descent, and I did flare out a little too soon, and she might have been monkeying with a few other things over there too but I was too busy to notice, let's say if I didn't land that plane, she did a damn good job of making me think that I landed that plane. Rather than grabbing the yoke and taking over like I figured she would though, she just calmly told me not to flare yet and pushed the yoke back forward to put us back on track then told me I had the aircraft, for a beginner like me it was looking like we were mighty close to the ground when in reality we were probably still 20 feet above the runway. We settled back to earth with a little bit of a thump, not exactly textbook but hey, I'm a beginner right? Only after we had almost completed our rollout did she take over and taxi the plane back to the tie downs. At that point, you guessed it, I was still absolutely, positively, not a question in my mind, friggin GIDDY!

I didn't get much of a chance to take pictures or video since my mind was obviously on other things, but here's a few pics that I did manage to snag.

This is the plane I flew, a 172 Cessna. I've been up in these before, but never one so shiny and new.

This is a Piper J3 Cub that was parked next to the plane I flew, like I said before, there aren't a lot of airfields around where you can't find at least one of these things. Probably one of the most recognizable icons of aviation history.

This is a 1946 Cessna 140. She's a real beauty, and Yellowstone Valley Aviation uses her for a tailwheel trainer. I'd sure like to take a ride in this old bird.

Here's a shot of Billings from the air. Bianca took over for a few minutes and let me take some pics. Sorry there aren't many, but I just couldn't wait to get rid of that camera and get the yoke back in my hands.

Here's another one from the air. You may notice that I'm sitting on the LEFT side, that's right, the driver's seat baby, am I cool or what? ;)

I spotted this Beechcraft Bonanza on my way out of the airport. Notice the For Sale sign? Now if I could just win that damn lottery.

Thanks again for the gift Carrie, it was quite possibly the most awesome thing that anyone has ever given me.

Thanks again to Bianca and Yellowstone Valley Aviation , I don't think anyone could have possibly made me feel more at ease or confident.

And yes, I'm still friggin GIDDY!


jon m. said...

I am very glad you went up in the little airplane ahhahahahaa... Pretty fun huh? Giddy like a little girl sounds like you just found your next drug of choice... Aviation... more expensive then the over the counter types and a lot more fun.

jon m.

The Dixie Drifter said...

Hey Justin great pic's and I bet the flying was great.

Sarpy Sam said...

Giddy? If that's what you want, okay.

I'm glad you enjoyed it. I've been under the ocean in submarines and I would much prefer that to flying. It just don't seem right to me.

Justin said...

Howdy Jon, when we going flying? I think I know what I did wrong, I just need ONE more chance . . . .

Yep, flying is more addictive than meth, one try and I'm hooked. ;)

Howdy Drifter, it was absolutely awesome. I was really surprised how different it was when I was the one flying. I've been up in small planes before but even though I'm the type that's constantly looking and asking questions about things that interest me, I could never have imagined how different it would be from just sitting there for the ride. Whenever I fly with someone else at the controls there's always butterflies in my stomach. Today, no butterflies, it was just like I was driving a car for the first time, totally focused and just absorbing as much as possible, trying things a little at a time and analyzing the results. I wish I could do it again tomorrow and figure out that much more.

Howdy Sam, long time no see. Submarines huh? Whatever floats yer boat. (pun intended) LOL. A friend of mine and I, both pretty capable when it comes to building stuff, had a plan all worked up one time to build a homemade submarine. We never got around to doing it, but the thought was there. The one we had figured out was going to basically "fly" through the water like an airplane though. LOL. A few years later I saw a show on Discovery or something where some company down in Florida was making them and selling them. The ones they had looked sort of like a little F18 fighter jet (hokey if you ask me, ours was going to look like a submarine) and they were taking people for rides in it and selling them to rich people for mega bucks. If I'd only known, snooze ya lose I guess. Probably for the best though, I have horrible luck when it comes to water, I don't think water likes me. ;)

KarbonKountyMoos said...

You giddy guy, you! I went up in a friend's Cessna a couple of weeks ago. It was the first time I'd ever been in a small plane. It was also the first time I forgot to charge my camera's battery. Duh. . . it was okay, though - I really got to enjoy the flight. And a pefect excuse to go up again!

Justin said...

No kidding moos, I've missed out on more cool stuff because I was trying to video or take a picture of it, you're probably lucky that your camera batteries were dead.

When you go out and try it again, TAKE ME WITH YOU PUUUHHHHHHLEEEEEEEEEZ! ;)

a-fire-fly said...

Look into flying clubs at your local airport. My old boss was in one and gave him the opportunity to fly alot.

Justin said...

Howdy firefly, those are around for sure, but for somebody that can't even afford to take lessons and get a license, I'm afraid that they're just out of the question. My 2nd best friend's dad owns two planes, and he's already told me that if I wanted to take lessons I could use his plane for free if I paid for the fuel. It's just one of those things that even though I'd really like to do it, it just isn't a priority when I'm only working part time and I have a wife and kids to worry about, know what I mean? For now it'll just have to stay on my "someday" list.

David said...

Great commentary on your intro flight Justin. Fantastic pic's too! I'm debating taking lessons but am having a little difficulty snagging the Student Pilot License/Medical Certificate. Although I passed (not a sure thing because of my age), the doctors office messed up the application??? Two and a half months later I'm "still" waiting to receive it????? I visited with Jim Foley this past summer and was most impressed. I didn't meet Bianca but I'm sure she imparts the same "can-do" attitude as Jim. Also visited Northern Skies Aviation at the Laurel airport. They seem to be good too. Jim said I could take friends with us on some lessons...if I go forward with this, do you want to go???

Justin said...

Lucky I found your comment David, this is kind of an old post after all. I don't need much of an excuse to go flying, drop me a line on a current post anytime if you'd like and maybe we'll talk about it.